Bauer Media’s latest listening figures show 49.1% of all UK listening is through digital radio, compared to the industry average of 36.6%.
The increase comes thanks to the addition of Absolute Radio to the portfolio, giving Bauer a dozen digital only stations operating from London or Manchester.
Absolute 80s, Kerrang!, The Hits, Kisstory, Heat and Absolute Radio 90s claim the top six commercial places for digital-only stations.
In London, Magic is number one in reach, with 1.94m – just 400,000 listeners above Capital. Kiss is in third place with 1.84m listeners.
Absolute Radio is up year on year from 1.68m listeners to 1.85m and most of the spin-off stations are up compared with Q1, 2013, with the exception of Absolute Radio 00s and Absolute Classic Rock. Christian O’Connell’s Breakfast Show reaches 1.5m listeners, adding 69,000 new listeners and up 5% year on year.
Steve Parkinson, Managing Director, Bauer Radio London, said: “The big news for the Passion portfolio this quarter is the strong performance of our digital-only stations, which now command the top six most popular commercial slots in the UK. The wider portfolio is also in rude health, with our Kiss and Absolute Radio networks adding hundreds of thousands of new listeners nationally.”
Around the stations, Key 103 is back on track after an all-time low of 395,000 listeners nine months ago. The station now has 660,000 – its highest figure for over 10 years.
TFM Radio, now sharing with Metro Radio, is up year on year from 169,000 to 175,000 but did reach 190,000 in Q2 and Q3 of 2013. Metro is down year on year from 434,000 to 417,000.
But in Liverpool, whilst Radio City has added 50,000 listeners, City Talk 105.9 now has less audience than its first survey in 2008, at 62,000 listeners and 2.8 average hours.
Graham Bryce, Group Managing Director, Place, Northern England and Scotland, said: “We’ve seen some phenomenal growth across the portfolio this quarter. We are reaping the benefits of balancing our brilliant local content with our portfolio-wide Your Music, Your Life positioning, introducing shows such as ‘Old Skool & Anthems’ and the refreshed ‘In:Demand’ into the line-up.”
Dee Ford, Group Managing Director Radio, Bauer Media, said: “I am hugely proud of the performance of our stations across our national brands and in our local markets. To deliver almost half of listening through digital sources is a tremendous achievement, demonstrates our continued commitment to digital and it sets up our business extremely well with a strong and healthy digital future as DAB grows and we move towards switchover. Once again, our stations are delivering a hugely valuable, engaged and growing mass-market audience to our commercial partners.”